Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh yeah...that book

This kid approaches the reference desk, he looks about 10 or 11.
"I'm looking for a book that my grandpa told me to get," he says.
"Do you remember what it's called or who wrote it?" I ask.
"Uh, it's by Mitch Albom," he says.
"Do you know which one by Mitch Albom?" I'm thinking it might be his latest book and that the kid is fetching it for his grandfather, but one can never be certain.
"Uh, It's called The Professor," he says.
The Professor? Hmmm, I haven't heard of that one. "Is this a new book? Is it for adults or is it for kids?" I ask. Popular authors often cash in by penning kids books and though I'd never heard of "The Professor" or a Mitch Albom book written for kids it's not impossible and I'm not the children's librarian either. When my search in the catalog comes up empty for an Albom book with that title I start looking on Amazon.
"Yeah, it's for kids, my grandpa wants me to read it," he says.
"Are you sure Albom was the author? That The Professor is the right title?" I ask.
"Yes, yes," he says, then thinks for a minute, "Or it could have been called The Magic Coat."
When The Magic Coat just as mysteriously receives no hits I send the kid back to his grandpa waiting nearby to make sure he has the right author, as I'm pretty sure Albom's not the one that this kid is looking for.
He jogs back over to the reference desk, "Oh yeah, the book is really called Tuesdays with Morrie."

(Of course, had I actually read Tuesdays with Morrie, I might've been able to figure it out since it's about Mitch Albom's relationship with a former professor (thanks Wikipedia!), but I thought it was about a young guy spending time with an old guy who was dying, talking about life and shiz, like a dude's version of Fried Green Tomatoes, but now I know and next time someone asks me for The Professor (or The Magic Coat) I'll be able to help them!)

the more you know!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Stop the holidays, I want to get off

Last Thursday when I was rushing out to Target to grab some more wrapping paper because I'd run out, I was totally depressed to see all the Valentine's displays already dragged out and set up -- THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I know it gets earlier and earlier each year, but really?

Also, because Best Buy has always been kind in the past and allowed me to return the godawful unwanted movies that my aunt gives me for xmas (Lakehouse anyone? Or maybe I can interest someone in Shall We Dance?) for store credit so that I can get something kickass and more my speed, if they've changed their policy to "no receipt, no returny" could they please post it on a giant sign somewhere near the returns register so that I don't waste nearly an hour of my life in a line that goes nowhere? Really, I love looking like a total jerkwad to the other customers, waving a copy of Love, Actually above my head while trying to strike some type of deal with 18-year-old cashier.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A quiet day

Snowy winter days not at work = cocoa and some good books!

Today I finished Catching Fire the second book in the young adult Hunger Games Series and found out I have to wait until late August for the next book! I also read the first graphic novel in the Scott Pilgrim Series and thought it was cute so I'll have to request the next one, which should only take a couple days.

Also, when I was taking a break from reading I made my own ALA style READ Poster:

Ok, ok, not a very productive day, but I promise to do laundry and dishes tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's just a small example

Today at work we were asked to respond to a request from up high on how we can make our customer service better. I usually feel that these requests are silly because the best way to make things better is to fire all the insane or lazy employees and burn down the library branch that smells like an armpit so we can start to build a new one, yet admin always ignores my suggestions. This time they want specific examples of customer service transactions and how they could have been improved.
This made me think back to last week's episode on "Parks and Rec," which is mainly about that government department, but it serves as a good example of what working with the public is often really like. In the episode, at some sort of public meeting, one guy was upset that the government was still focusing on swine flu when he was now worried about turtle flu and a woman was outraged that she found a sandwich in the park but it didn't have mayonnaise on it.
Yes, that pretty much sums it up. And aside from discovering a way to make porn download faster, setting aside special computer stations only for Facebook, or letting the local mommy group set up permanent headquarters in our public meeting room I just don't know how we can keep all our little darlings happy 24/7.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Seeing what the public can do to a restroom can turn down the volume down on everything else

Of course I haven't seen everything, but let's just say once you're the unfortunate discoverer of book that has a used condom as a bookmark or have been called to help unstop a toilet with a dildo in it, it is safe to say it changes you. It changes you in ways that library school never thought to cover during instruction.

So I'm often amused when someone tries to get a rise out of me by requesting help finding books on "taboo" subjects. Today, I was approached by two older teenage boys who kept elbowing each other while I waited with my best patient impression for them to make their request. The more mature of the two finally leaned in and, in a mock whisper, said, "We want books on...MARIJUANA!" which prompted them into a fit of nervous Beavis and Butthead like "heh-heheheh-heheh-heh" laughter.
Without batting an eyelash I asked what specifically they'd like to know about marijuana and was met with silence. I informed them that we did have books in our collection that dealt with the topic of marijuana, but that these were books on substance abuse or the argument for and against decriminalization of the drug. I also explained we had articles in our databases, but these probably related to the same topics, but also some medical purposes and perhaps pop culture references.
The two stood in front of me without saying anything so I finally asked, "Are you looking for information on growing marijuana?"
They started giggling again, but when I told them that the library didn't have any books on that topic they gave up and walked away.

Last year, when I was working at another branch, a junior college student asked if we had any books on "toad licking" because, in his words, he had heard "that stuff will totally fuck you up." I concurred that I had heard the same information and then blew his mind by telling him that there was a documentary about the psychedelic effects of toad licking available at the nearby university library. When I told him that he couldn't check out the video since he wasn't a student there, but could view it in the library, I sensed his disappointment.
"What's wrong? Would you like me to continue the search or do you think this video will provide the type of information you're looking for?" I asked.
He sat in the chair and after a minute confessed, "Oh, I just didn't expect you to really find anything. Nevermind," and then left.

The things you can learn at your local library.